Editorial: Thanks for the memories

Last updated 05:00 14/08/2012

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The Olympic Games were a triumph. For New Zealand, for Great Britain, for sport.

No terrorism. Hardly any mention of drugs. Hardly any controversy at all.

For us, 13 medals, including five gold. Sixteenth on the overall medal table. Fantastic. Really, that's fantastic.

Ahead of Spain, South Africa, Canada. And a heap of other countries with far more people than us.

Fourth on the per capita gold table, where Australia sat 18th and the United States 28th.

Makes you feel good in the gloom of winter.

I don't begrudge a cent of the money we spend on our high performance athletes.

There's far more benefit than a trip to Mars or smashing particles together in a tunnel in Switzerland.

Apparently a successful Olympic campaign increases productivity at work, improves relationships and puts us in a mood to spend more.

I'm not sure about any of those, but it does make us feel proud, and it inspires young people into sports, which means they aren't breaking into other people's houses or over-eating (apparently we're 35th on the world obesity table).

I have no idea how you measure it, but just getting our name out on the world stage has to bring benefits, whether that be through tourism or trade or making movies.

Spending $60 million a year on high performance sport, then, is a good investment.

Just look at our two local Olympians. I'd hate to think what representing New Zealand has cost them and their families personally, so it was great to see them get some cash from this campaign. For Marc Ryan, $55,000, for Shane Archbold $40,000. Not hard to see $60 million disappearing pretty quickly.

Wonder where we'd sit on a medals per dollars spent table?

The thing about the funding I question is the reward for performance. I understand why you'd do that, but have one bad Olympics and how do you get your sport back on the gravy train?

Rowing was the most successful sport this time. At $19 million for this campaign it should have been. And that success probably means even more of the pie. So what happens to those who don't quite cut it? Do they fade away?

The other big question is what do we now watch on telly into the wee small hours?

Thanks for the memories team.

Roll on Rio.

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- The Timaru Herald

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